Update: The In Darkness Sing blog at JenniferSaake is experiencing prolonged technical issues, so I'm temporarily posting back here on my old Stroke of Grace blog.

Thirty-nine-year-old Jennifer Saake (founder, Hannah's Prayer Ministries), experienced 6 strokes via vertebral dissection at a chiropractic office, including brain stem and cerebellum bleeds, in Oct. 2011. Jenni remained hospitalized for nearly 2 months and was not expected to live (near death experience) nor recover, but if she even survived, she was slated to live out her days in a nursing home or, best case, to maybe come home but wheelchair-bound and needing 24-hour care. At 5 years, 7 months God showed how He was writing her story from the beginning.

Jennifer is currently writing more books and stays active on both Facebook and Pinterest. Stroke of Grace became In Darkness Sing in early 2018 and has moved, along with all five of Jennifer's active blogs, to one location at JenniferSaake.com. (Please see above temporary update note above!)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Of Chiropractors and Change

Why  I Never Give Up

Life dragged SO SLOWLY that first year. Now, it is flying and I feel like I am ever-scrambling just to keep up!

20 second video with important message!

I've been trying, for well over a week now, to compose one simple political letter for help with the LEAGUE FOR CHIROPRACTIC NATIONAL SAFETY (LCNS) and I have yet to finish that. LCNS hopes to have all concerned citizens, not just injured chiropractic victims (link shares the mechanics or "how" of chiropractic stroke), join with a loud, clear voice to regulate the field of chiropractic with stricter Standards of Care, Code of Ethics and more proficient notes during imaging scans of the head and neck so that Chiropractic Stroke, VAD (vertebral artery dissection) and CAD (carotid artery dissection) are not buried in primary records. More factual statistics  should result in better health, medical and legal accuracy. We are primarily trying to demand it become mandatory for hospitals and imaging centers to report if a victims had chiropractic stroke (can you believe that this is NOT currently a requirement thus often does not get reported at all?!) within 120 days. Just a simple form they fill out with a case number, injured within time frame after an adjustment. Would be cool if had a box whether signed informed consent too or if orally explained risks too (I was given no prior warning of risk).

If you still think that this was just "bad luck" that happened to me, we strongly contend that chiropractic neck adjustments are NOT so rare, just dreadfully under-reported. :( Check out What's The Harm in going to a Chiropractor? Also Frequently Asked Questions at Neck911, this article on Stroke and Chiropractic from the journal Spine, Cerebrovascular Complications of Neck Manipulation published in Logo, and if you have a little more time (41 minutes), Dr. Bill Kinsinger shares a mind-blowing (no pun intended!) talk with a group of physical therapists on What CHIROPRACTIC is NOT.

[Edited to add, here is treatment advice from one chiropractor to another, along with even more statistics and the latest statement on the topic from the American Heart Associationhttp://strokeofgrace.blogspot.com/2014/08/Advice-from-One-Chiropractor-to-Another.html ]

From the Neck911 page, sited above, there is a patient who is asking about all the concern when your chances of a chiropractic stroke may only be equivalent to the risk of being stuck by lightening? I love the answer, "The real concern is not the “likelihood” of suffering a stroke; it is that it happens at all. Put another way, it is all about risk/benefit ratio. In mainstream medicine there are lots of risks taken every day, and there are bad outcomes. The difference is, in mainstream medicine, we consider the risk/benefit ratio and will not proceed with a certain type of therapy if we do not believe the benefit outweighs the risk. Upper neck manipulation has no proven benefit for the vast majority of conditions for which it is utilized, therefore, if the risk is death and the benefit is zero, then it is unacceptable to proceed." To this I would add that even if you know it is unlikely to get struck by lightening, aren't you careful to out of a swimming pool during a thunder storm? If you would not purposefully go outside with a long metal rod during a lightning attack, why put yourself at risk with a neck adjustment either?

Also from Spine, "Our results suggest that adverse reactions to chiropractic care for neck pain are common and that despite somewhat imprecise estimation, adverse reactions appear more likely to follow cervical spine manipulation than mobilization. Given the possible higher risk of adverse reactions and lack of demonstrated effectiveness of manipulation over mobilization, chiropractors should consider a conservative approach for applying manipulation to their patients, especially those with severe neck pain." And for those (such as Defendant Chiropractic lawyers) who love to fall back on the ONE published study saying there is no significant link between chiropractic manipulations and stroke, did you know that both the lead author of that study and one of his co-authors were both chiropractors? Hmmm...

One more thing on chiropractic strokes, then I'm back off my soap box for a bit. One of the favorite tactics of layers in defending the "doctors" who injure through chiropractic manipulation, is to say it absolutely could not been the doctor or the procedure at fault, but is the patient's own fault because they must have had some prior, underlying condition that was likely to lead to a stroke anyway. The founder of LCNS, Donna M. Freeman, explains it this way, "If someone is in a car accident and it is their fault they have remorse and no anger.  Same here with VADs [vertebral artery dissections]. If ours are caused by an outside source, I think we deserve to be upset as justice not just injury is involved. I wish more people would take a moment and try to understand that. OUR bodies did not fail us. SOMEONE else failed us who is a professional and educated." Basically, even if our bodies were already prone to stroke (and who says your isn't?), the injury still happened directly at the hands of another. The stroke would not have happened then, there, as severely, or maybe not even at all, had it not been for the catalysis of that adjustment. If someone stroked due to a car accident that was another's fault, the stroke would be considered damage of the accident, the responsible driver deemed liable for the injury even if the hurt person had other reasons they might (or might not) eventually have stroked anyway. Why is this not the case when a (trusting and typically uninformed) neck is intentionally twisted by a person trained with the knowledge of what can go wrong?

Those who say, "Oh I have had lots of neck adjustments before and never had a problem!" I rejoice with you that you have had no incident yet but submit that you cannot know that those prior adjustments have not already been weakening your arteries making a future adjustment even more risky. I hadn't recently seen a chiropractor before my strokes, but had regularly gone in for adjustments throughout my teen years, so had undergone many neck manipulations without incident myself! Not only did I not even know chiropractic stroke to be a risk, but because of my own many happy experiences at a chiropractor, I'm not sure I would have even worried about the possibility if you had told me. So to those determined to continue seeing their chiropractors, I urge you never to let them twist your neck. I am seeing more and more evidence that even concerns me about the "q-tip" or "activator" methods of neck adjustment that are still placing many pounds of direct pressure right against vulnerable arteries.

Changing gears here, as you may remember, I've had a huge cyst growing on the side of my right (less stroked, so takes more of my body weight) foot for at least a year and a half. I even had it evaluated by a foot specialist and was scheduled for surgery last fall (that got canceled when I had kidney stone surgery instead).

As long as I stay totally off the foot (like when I was down with the kidney stone) the lump and pain goes down, but when I'm up on the foot, it gets bigger and more painful each week. This morning it was nauseatingly excruciating. I grabbed the toe and yanked it forward, hard (the only way I've gotten relief for months is to "pop" the join, but I've never done so with such frustration or force) and I visibly watched as the big lump sucked back into my foot (can't see ANY sign of it now), heard a loud pop and pain instantly drained to almost non-existent in that joint. (I cringe to think this is about of the violent "cracking" that was done to my neck, but since there is no artery running through the big toe joint...)

My theory is that my big toe has actually been dislocated all along, or maybe I would get partial relief when I would pop a subluxation back in over and over and now I finally have it repositioned well?  Anyway, this issue seems resolved as of this morning and I am really hopeful it might stay that way now. It feels so wonderful to walk without shooting pain with each step! My foot feel (and looks) so much better today. Indescribable!!!

I'm tired!!! But my freezer is well on its way to being stocked with meals for the month. Rick thanks for shopping a 2 page list for me on Tuesday night. My mom and I spent an hour or so planning menus and that shopping list the first part of this week, then about 3 1/2 hours actually cooking yesterday. We have about 5 or 6 poultry dishes to do up tomorrow (we had planned for today but I had to take a break!), then we should both be set for a bit.

Please keep my mom, Betty, in prayer as she has hernia surgery on July 22nd, survives the pain until then, and recovers afterward. We also have a pretty important appointment for our daughter that day and would so appreciate your prayers for unity in our medical team, wisdom, clear direction and peace for us.

Why I Never Give Up

Despite all my warning about taking unnecessary risk, I fully believe in God's sovereignty and grace. I know I would be here, neither in the shoes of a stroke survivor nor in the place of stroke survivor had God not lovingly written my story this way from the beginning. I have my moments of grief (like when my family went on a short walk last weekend, rather than the big hike they would have previously take, but I still panted and staggered in trying to keep up even with the aid of two walking sticks, one that I eventually had to give up because my left arm couldn't control well enough to keep from tripping myself) but overall I am generally peaceful about the changes in our lives now. But how I long to spare anyone this same journey, for it has been a hard fought and painful battle toward embracing contentment!

Why I Never Give Up

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8


  1. While it causes me to be nauseated to talk about the dangers of chiropractic care, I think I may have convinced a friend today NOT to go. Most people roll their eyes at me, but I hop on quite the soap box when the mere casual reference occurs.

  2. Thank you for sharing with us Jenni. This does need to be talked about, and I very much value your important post. I will be talking to my mum about this, as she has regular chiropractic treatment. Love you my beautiful friend.

    1. I completely agree with you Anita. There are many people who are unaware about these things. Thanks Jenni for sharing this information about Chiropractic treatment with everyone. Great job !!!!

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.